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US cyber pros test skills in exercise meant to stop attacks

WASHINGTON – More than 1,000 cybersecurity professionals are participating in a Homeland Security Department simulation this week that tests their ability to deal with often-crippling cyberattacks.

The event focuses on health care systems and retail sectors and follows recent high-profile breaches in those industries. The attacks compromised personal data of millions of people who shopped at Target Corp. or The Home Depot.

Officials said the tests include participants from eight state governments. Organizers wouldn’t preview their tests ahead of time, but said they’re meant to test human responses and grade experts’ ability to share information.

The government said it is still addressing issues raised during a previous test. Officials from five countries will be observing the drill, although the Homeland Security Department wouldn’t say which ones.